Umrah Diaries | Day 17 | The Day Of Return

29th January 2020

Jeddah Airport

It is so hectic, I can’t even.

One thing I liked about Jeddah airport is that all the sections for international flights are interconnected with minimal walking distance. We got our boarding passes in 45 minutes, and headed to the immigration counter. Security check happened before that. Immigration was next and before we knew, we were in the waiting area.

Sounds too easy to be true, right?

Yep, I am saving the problematic bits for later. The flight is delayed by an hour, and we are checked-in for Mumbai, not directly for Nagpur. So, that shit we do with luggage, we need to do that twice. Allah, bless me with patience and strength to deal with all that is coming my way.

Mumbai Airport

After everything that I have been through (that’s a separate and very long story. I promise I will share it soon), I have decided to fly solo – as in, don’t fret about other members of the tour. It worked amazingly well. Baggage claim, baggage scan, immigration, security check, everything happened smoothly and by 3 AM, we arrived atgate 86B for our flight, that is scheduled for 8:30 AM.

There is a reason I like my independence. I know. It is a long wait till the flight, but we don’t have the constant pressure of reaching somewhere. We know we are here. However long it takes, we will wait. The prayer room and the washroom is just around the corner. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be so bad.

The rest of the tour group arrives around 5:15 AM. Yep, that’s how much time / torture I saved.

The boarding did not start until 8:15 AM. What else do you expect from Indigo? The flight was only 30 minutes late.

Nagpur Airport

For the first time in my life, I slept in the flight – a 45 minutes flight. That’s how exhausted I was. I knew when the flight took off, and when I opened my eyes, the airhostess was annoucing that they will clear the trash in a bit. What a relief it was!

The moment I stepped inside the arrival lounge, every fibre of my body thanked Allah for a safe journey.

Baggage claim was smooth as ever. Thankfully, our Zamzam boxes were marked with red tape and we could quickly identify the same. It took us a while to wait for our pickup to arrive. And, the ride was eather long, thanks to the bandh. Bharat bandh is a thing. It happens only in India, remember that song?

And, finally, home

At noon, no less.

Shabana Mukhtar

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